Wednesday, February 15, 2017

February Update: Measurable Progress!

I did finally get past my funk, found my mojo, and have gotten back to work on things. Yay.

I got a line edit done on Monsters of Lawrence. It's as polished as it's going to get without a second pair of eyes. I'm going to start querying it again soon. Sometime this month.

I picked up the adventure novella I bailed on last year. It's not done yet, but it's coming along. I hope to have it finished by the end of February.

I submitted a February story for the Cafe, and I've started working on one for March.

I've brainstormed ideas for two different worlds. One is a high fantasy world that came from a dream. The other is, strangely, straight fiction, and came about the same way Monsters of Lawrence did, just without the fantasy elements. I asked myself, what would I do in this situation? And a book idea appeared, from start to finish.

I dunno if I'll ever do the fiction book, but it's there in case I decide I want to. It's full of cliches and tropes, but so am I, so that's fitting, I suppose.

The writing group and the Cafe have undergone some major revamping over the last month and a half. It's been stressful since I don't like change, but I know it's for the best. The growing pains are mostly past.

We're decentralizing responsibility in the writing group, emphasizing that we're more of a meetup slash co-op than a structured writing group. We're encouraging people to get in there and do what they want, and that leadership of the group just maintains the framework for that to happen. My friend and I are working on a FAQ and a new banner. I'm excited but have some trepidation. I don't know if it's going to work or even change anything.

The Confabulator Cafe got a facelift. Things are updated and more streamlined. We used to be a blog, and it looked like a blog. Now we are essentially a magazine, so it looks more like a magazine. I wasn't completely convinced it needed a change, but I do like the updates, and several changes make my job easier.

I'm still struggling with depression and chaos in various relationships, so I still have days were I literally cannot work, despite the desire to (or days when I have time to work, I just don't). But I think, more often than not, I'm making progress in the ways I can. I count brainstorming ideas, researching literary agents, and editing as progress. I don't have to just be writing to be making strides toward my goals, even though most of my goals are word-count based these days.

I am still tracking projects and wordcounts (and editing hours) on the tracking spreadsheet I developed, but I also joined MyWriteClub with a few of my friends. It's a good way visually see the progress I'm making on my various projects.

I keep plugging along, through good days and bad. Hopefully my funk is gone, for the most part.

Until next year, probably. Sigh.

Just gotta make the time in between count for more!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

January Update: Accomplishments and Goals

I didn't manage my "where am I going, where have I been" post last month, so I decided to do a recap of 2016 and a look ahead at 2017 for my January post.

The bad news first. I never got my writing mojo back last year. Three months I was dead in the water. I never finished that dream story for the Cafe. I did find an ending for one story I was working on, but haven't written it. I managed to pull out a story the day before the post went live on the Cafe about something completely different, so I didn't let the Cafe down. But it wasn't the story I wanted to tell.

I didn't keep with my timeline for 2016. I had planned on finishing up Book 3 this month, but I still haven't written more than a couple thousand words on it. And I never did finish the last episode of the first season of my adventure novel.

I did not participate in National Novel Writing Month for the first time since I found out about it over a decade ago.

I missed several writing meetings, write-ins, and get togethers.

But. Good news. In 2016, I:
  • Finished editing Monsters of Lawrence
  • Finished writing Towers of Kansas, which I started back in 2012
  • Did first round edits for Towers of Kansas
  • Finished writing episode three of my adventure series
  • Wrote episode four of my adventure series
  • Started episode five of my adventure series
  • Finished writing the first book in the Druid Wars series
  • Did an editing treatment for Online Dating for Demons so it's ready for dev edits
  • Wrote a flash fiction for the 24-hour writing contest, which is currrently on submission
  • Wrote seven stories for the Confabulator Cafe
  • Managed the Cafe so that it had at least four stories every single month in 2016
  • Spoke on six panels and did a reading at ConQuest
  • Wrote a story-in-a-bag for ConQuest
  • Attended my first WorldCon
  • Wrote twelve blog posts for the year (even if it wasn't one a month, it was close)
  • Overall, wrote over 115,000 words on various projects and spent countless hours editing
  • And even though it wasn't ready, I did query Book 1 with six different agents

In addition to all of that writing, I also edited two novels and three novellas for three different clients.

I had a solid year. I made the project timeline. I followed it until the last couple of months. I cataloged all of my stories and found ways to fix them all. I made concrete goals and good progress toward them.

So. This year, my goals are to:
  • Write Scions of Mythos
  • Sell or self-publish Monsters of Lawrence
  • Send Towers of Kansas to beta readers and incorporate their edits
  • Finish the first season of my adventure novellas
  • Start the second season of my adventure novellas
  • Write at least six stories for the Cafe (and keep the Cafe running)
  • Edit Druid Wars Book 1 for beta readers
  • Start writing Druid Wars Book 2
  • Do dev edits for Online Dating for Demons
  • Help run Reader Con in October
  • Write a blog update every month, even if I have nothing to report.

It's ambitious for me, especially since it's a lot more of the same, which is stuff I've been struggling to work on for the last three months without any luck.

But I did learn some valuable lessons. One, timelines are great, but they have to be flexible. Two, I will get burned out, so I have to work hard during the good months and go easy on myself during the tough ones. Three, NaNoWriMo is time for new projects, not continuing old ones. I need to keep expanding the various worlds I have at my disposal, and I will do better with a clean slate than trying to continue in other worlds for NaNo.

It seems daunting now, in the depths of my SAD, but I know I won't be in this pit forever. I will write again. And I will see one of my books in print this year, even if I have to put it out there myself.

And thus begins year six of this blog! Only four more years.

It's crazy how time flies.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

November Update: Disappointed

I've put off writing this update because...I don't have much to update.

I made it three days into NaNo before I gave up. Scions of Mythos just doesn't want to be told right now, and I didn't have the heart to try something different. By the time I realized I couldn't write it, it was too late to start something new anyway.

I'm still pretty depressed and unmotivated.

The election didn't help. Everything went to hell when I was already in a bad place, so I've mostly been trying to just make it through each day however I can. Even if that means staring at the TV and not moving from the couch for hours, not writing.

I thought maybe NaNo would get me back into writing, but it didn't. The first year in over a decade that I haven't done NaNo. Or at least, quit before I hit more than a couple thousand words. I'm disappointed in myself, but I keep reminding myself that even though I can't write it now doesn't mean I'll never be able to.

I pushed myself pretty hard this year. I took advantage of the good months. I don't want to become complacent, but I feel like I've worked hard enough to allow myself some down time while I need it.

I did send my flash fiction back out. It's a slow market, so they haven't even gotten to it yet, but that's ok. I don't have to think about it much, so that's nice.I threw a few more words at a couple different stories. I had a dream that I am trying to turn in to a Cafe story. I only have a few more days before I need to finish that up, though, so hopefully I can write more than a hundred words on it over the next few days.

I don't even have that editing project I was expecting this month. I'm not the only writer suffering right now, apparently. I'm equal parts relieved and bummed. At least fiction editing I still feel confident about. Although I'm in such a funk, I don't know how well I would have done.

I really hope the holidays will knock this funk loose. I found a new therapist, I'm working on taking better care of myself, and I do love Christmas, as stressful as it is. If I can get myself feeling better emotionally, maybe I'll be able to write again.

For now, I'm taking baby steps. I'm going to try to write for the Cafe for the next few months. That's it. No novellas. No novels. No editing projects. Just....a short story a month for awhile, until I feel less overwhelmed by the bigger projects.

I got a lot done in 2016, even though it was the worst year ever. I can't lose sight of that.

Next month, I'll probably do a summary of my accomplishments and talk about my goals for next year.

But right now, I'm prepping for Thanksgiving and trying to keep my head above water.

Hope your holidays are full of happiness and love. Take care, my friends.